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Man Jailed For Failing to Help Officer

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posted on Aug, 22 2005 @ 04:02 PM
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Man Jailed for Failing to Help Officer

"WOOD RIVER -- Peter Skinner says he was being a Good Samaritan. Wood River police say he wasn’t helpful enough."

"A misdemeanor charge filed in Madison County Circuit Court against Skinner states that Jose requested the man’s assistance in helping to subdue a 15-year-old juvenile and he refused. The charge states that Skinner "knowingly failed, upon the command of Officer Jose, to give reasonable aid to the officer in apprehension."


The really strange thing about this for me is that I had a Business Law class at Alton High School with Peter Skinner (yeah, he caught a lot of hell for the name) in either 1981 or 1982, and I know that he is a pretty decent guy. I fully believe what he says in the story, that he did not hear the officer ask for his help.

This story makes me very angry. First of all, a supposedly "trained" police officer can't subdue a 15-year old juvenile and needs the help of an "untrained" bystander so he doesn't get his a$$ whooped? The kid was going for the officer's gun, and got his hand on it, but apparently never was able to get the gun out of its holster. If the kid was going for the gun, you have to believe that he was intending to use it...

So, what would you do?

I have several questions (all of which were raised in subsequent articles, and people calling the newspaper) such as: if the innocent bystander would have been hurt or killed, or possibly ended up hurting the offender do you think the Wood River police are going to pay his legal or medical expenses in case of a lawsuit or hospital visit? What if the cop is killed or injured, is the good samaritan liable for that too? What if the cop was shot and the innocent bystander takes the gun away from the juvenile, are the cops going to shoot first and ask questions later?

Now read this article: Witness Disputes Officer's Account

According to an eye witness across the street the cop was "on top" of the suspect and had "Tasered" the suspect a couple of times.

I think this is a classic case of the police being out of control. This officer didn't like something that Skinner did, and they are trying to be a$$holes.

Would I have jumped into this fight if the officer had asked me to, most likely yes... but in the heat of the moment you never know, and I am a helluva lot bigger than Peter Skinner. Regardless of what was asked (and according to the eye witness in the second article - the officer was not heard asking for assistance) I don't think Skinner should have been arrested. That is just ridiculous.




posted on Aug, 22 2005 @ 05:58 PM
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Originally posted by Punchdrunk
Man Jailed for Failing to Help Officer

"WOOD RIVER -- Peter Skinner says he was being a Good Samaritan. Wood River police say he wasn’t helpful enough."

"A misdemeanor charge filed in Madison County Circuit Court against Skinner states that Jose requested the man’s assistance in helping to subdue a 15-year-old juvenile and he refused. The charge states that Skinner "knowingly failed, upon the command of Officer Jose, to give reasonable aid to the officer in apprehension."


The really strange thing about this for me is that I had a Business Law class at Alton High School with Peter Skinner (yeah, he caught a lot of hell for the name) in either 1981 or 1982, and I know that he is a pretty decent guy. I fully believe what he says in the story, that he did not hear the officer ask for his help.

This story makes me very angry. First of all, a supposedly "trained" police officer can't subdue a 15-year old juvenile and needs the help of an "untrained" bystander so he doesn't get his a$$ whooped? The kid was going for the officer's gun, and got his hand on it, but apparently never was able to get the gun out of its holster. If the kid was going for the gun, you have to believe that he was intending to use it...

So, what would you do?

I have several questions (all of which were raised in subsequent articles, and people calling the newspaper) such as: if the innocent bystander would have been hurt or killed, or possibly ended up hurting the offender do you think the Wood River police are going to pay his legal or medical expenses in case of a lawsuit or hospital visit? What if the cop is killed or injured, is the good samaritan liable for that too? What if the cop was shot and the innocent bystander takes the gun away from the juvenile, are the cops going to shoot first and ask questions later?

Now read this article: Witness Disputes Officer's Account

According to an eye witness across the street the cop was "on top" of the suspect and had "Tasered" the suspect a couple of times.

I think this is a classic case of the police being out of control. This officer didn't like something that Skinner did, and they are trying to be a$$holes.

Would I have jumped into this fight if the officer had asked me to, most likely yes... but in the heat of the moment you never know, and I am a helluva lot bigger than Peter Skinner. Regardless of what was asked (and according to the eye witness in the second article - the officer was not heard asking for assistance) I don't think Skinner should have been arrested. That is just ridiculous.



isn't the reason cops are given hand-held radios is so that they can YELL FOR BACKUP!!!!!!!!??????



posted on Aug, 22 2005 @ 06:18 PM
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It's possible that the officer thought that Skinner was part of the group, and was trying to get him taken in because of that.

Several things are odd, one is that the officer was alone (don't cops travel in pairs?), another is that he didn't call for backup.

I had no idea that normal citizens can be "drafted" into assisting cops whose salaries are paid by said citizen's taxes to begin with!

What exactly is the normal citizen expected to do I wonder, smash the guy in the face or something? That's assault, and to a minor no less!

I rather suspect if the city has any sense whatsoever that they will drop the charges.



posted on Aug, 22 2005 @ 06:33 PM
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If Illinois is successful in prosecuting Skinner they will be opening up a realy big can of worms. What will happen when a civilian is injured while assisting the officer? Or even God forbid, killed?
Many cities in the US are doing their utmost to make sure that John Q. Public cannot sue the city ofr such issues. Illinois may become the exception to the rule on this.
As for the officer thinking that Skinner may have been a participant then Skinner would have been questioned / charged with the theft instead of "Failure to Assist". I know myself, I would definitely have second, third and forth thoughts about assisting an officer if I see then sitting on top of the suspect, tasering the suspect a number of times, the suspect bleeding from the altercation etc. Those facts alone would make me think that the suspect maybe under a drug such as PCP. I would have to consider my own safety and well being. I would probably be more likely to call 911 to get the officer some assistance.



posted on Aug, 22 2005 @ 06:51 PM
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I caught some freetime and I think i'll use it to just let ya'll know one thing:

You guys are idiots for saying stuff like "well they get paid for it" and things of that like.

Did you know that it is your civil duty to assist an officer if they request it?

I sure as hell would do anything that officer asked me. Or does respect for the uniform not carry on to today's generations?

Honestly folks, it's pathetic that you agree that you are "disappointed" that an officer can't do it himself, etc. Absolutely disheartening to me.

Show some respect for God's sake. Help the uniform when the request it.

This man should've helped in any way possible. It's exactly what I would have done. Would you? By the sound of it, you'd rather watch than help. That's just inexcusable and pathetic.

-David



posted on Aug, 22 2005 @ 07:11 PM
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I found an article from the St. Louis Post Dispatch about this case, but it didn't add any info to the two articles I linked to in my first post. I sent an e-mail to the reporter for the Alton Telegraph to see if the city of Wood River is planning to go forward and prosecute the case. I have the feeling that this will be dropped and quietly brushed under the rug so to speak.

The Telegraph has this thing where people call the paper and give comments about stories, and out of about thirty comments - only two people said they felt that Skinner should have been arrested. Those two were your typical "it's the Libs fault the country is going to hell" type of comments.



posted on Aug, 22 2005 @ 07:12 PM
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As a retired Sheriff’s Deputy maybe I can help shed some light on this subject. In the State of California a peace officer acting in the course and scope of his duty can request the assistance of any able bodied person above eighteen years of age under the following conditions.





California Penal Code 150pc Every able-bodied person above 18 years of age who neglects or refuses to join the posse comitatus or power of the county, by neglecting or refusing to aid and assist in taking or arresting any person against whom there may be issued any process, or by neglecting to aid and assist in retaking any person who, after being arrested or confined, may have escaped from arrest or imprisonment, or by neglecting or refusing to aid and assist in preventing any breach of the peace, or the commission of any criminal offense, being thereto lawfully required by any uniformed peace officer, or by any peace officer described in Section 830.1, subdivision (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), or (f) of Section 830.2, or subdivision (a) of Section 830.33, who identifies himself or herself with a badge or identification card issued by the officer's employing agency, or by any judge, is punishable by a fine of not less than fifty dollars ($50) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000).


This type of law is common in all the states. So the first thing to know is that you are bound by law to help the officer in most cases. Second, if this does happen to you and you get hurt in the process you will have a strong case against the department involved.

So, do the right thing and help the officer. If you get hurt in the process the department will cover your medical costs. If they don’t get a lawyer and stick it to them good!


Machine



posted on Aug, 22 2005 @ 07:19 PM
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Originally posted by WeBDeviL
Honestly folks, it's pathetic that you agree that you are "disappointed" that an officer can't do it himself, etc. Absolutely disheartening to me.

Show some respect for God's sake. Help the uniform when the request it.

This man should've helped in any way possible. It's exactly what I would have done. Would you? By the sound of it, you'd rather watch than help. That's just inexcusable and pathetic.

-David



Before you make such an incredibly ignorant comment you should read the articles (particularly the second one that shows the officer WAS in complete control, and an eyewitness is claiming the cop DID NOT ask for assistance). It is that kind of ignorance that is truly pathetic...



posted on Aug, 22 2005 @ 08:09 PM
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Sounds like a he said, he didn't say issue. None of us were there thus as to whether the officer asked and whether the person heard are true unknowns. I think the point of the post is whether an officer can enlist your help and whether you are obligated to assist. Yes officers can request your help (depending on state law will depend on circumstances) and yes you should assist if able.

No, officers do not always travel in pairs (this is not a TV show) and normally they would call for back up. It is possible the officer could not call for some reason (ie couldn't reach radio, hands were tied up with suspect etc) and time was of the essence and a person was nearby so he asked for the persons help. Considering that officers are willing to risk their life for total strangers, would it really hurt for a person to assist? It comes down to who you are. If that had been a regular person, not an officer that asked for help, would have done so then? and if yes, why did the uniform make a difference?



posted on Aug, 22 2005 @ 08:16 PM
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I'm quite sorry I don't have too much time on my hands seeing as I'm currently in Iraq serving in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Even though the officer may have been in complete control, he still asked for help did he not? Therefore he should have been helped. Simple as that.

-Dave



posted on Aug, 23 2005 @ 02:14 AM
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Originally posted by Machine


California Penal Code 150pc Every able-bodied person above 18 years of age who neglects or refuses to join the posse comitatus or power of the county, by neglecting or refusing to aid and assist in taking or arresting any person against whom there may be issued any process, or by neglecting to aid and assist in retaking any person who, after being arrested or confined, may have escaped from arrest or imprisonment, or by neglecting or refusing to aid and assist in preventing any breach of the peace, or the commission of any criminal offense, being thereto lawfully required by any uniformed peace officer, or by any peace officer described in Section 830.1, subdivision (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), or (f) of Section 830.2, or subdivision (a) of Section 830.33, who identifies himself or herself with a badge or identification card issued by the officer's employing agency, or by any judge, is punishable by a fine of not less than fifty dollars ($50) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000).



Why do states have these laws making citizens accountable to help and assist, when it has been upheld in courts time and time again that law enforcement is under no obligation to assist us:

Warren v. District of Columbia is one of the leading cases of this type. Two women were upstairs in a townhouse when they heard their roommate, a third woman, being attacked downstairs by intruders. They phoned the police several times and were assured that officers were on the way. After about 30 minutes, when their roommate's screams had stopped, they assumed the police had finally arrived.

When the two women went downstairs they saw that in fact the police never came, but the intruders were still there. As the Warren court graphically states in the opinion: ``For the next fourteen hours the women were held captive, raped, robbed, beaten, forced to commit sexual acts upon each other, and made to submit to the sexual demands of their attackers.'' The three women sued the District of Columbia for failing to protect them, but D.C.'s highest court exonerated the District and its police, saying that it is a ``fundamental principle of American law that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen.'' Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. Ct. of Ap., 1981).


.....and

A citizen injured because the police failed to protect her can only sue the State or local government in federal court if one of their officials violated a federal statutory or Constitutional right, and can only win such a suit if a "special relationship'' can be shown to have existed, which DeShaney and its progeny make it very difficult to do. Moreover, Zinermon v. Burch (110 S.Ct. 975, 984 1990) very likely precludes Section 1983 liability for police agencies in these types of cases if there is a potential remedy via a State tort action.

Many states, however, have specifically precluded such claims, barring lawsuits against State or local officials for failure to protect, by enacting statutes such as California's Government Code, Sections 821, 845, and 846 which state, in part: "Neither a public entity or a public employee [may be sued] for failure to provide adequate police protection or service, failure to prevent the commission of crimes and failure to apprehend criminals.''


Now don't get me wrong, I don't mind assisting anyone in need if it is prudent to do so, but it seems that the government has a lot of priveledged rules and standards that keeps them from accounting for anything and at the same time demands that it all falls on the citizens. By God, if this is so, then why do we need law enforcement? It really sounds like a slick way to justify an entire industry that claims to uphold law for the people (but only when it is convenient to do so). In other words, police are protected from making mistakes, even if it costs people their lives, but if a responder needs assistance, we have obligations that we must uphold when law enforcement is exempt..........and we are even footing the bill. Sweet!

More stuff on this here:

[edit on 23-8-2005 by ben91069]



posted on Aug, 23 2005 @ 06:06 AM
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I found the Illinois statute concerning this:

725 ILCS 5/107 8) (from Ch. 38, par. 107 8)
Sec. 107 8. Assisting peace officer).
(a) A peace officer making a lawful arrest may command the aid of persons over the age of 18.
(b) A person commanded to aid a peace officer shall have the same authority to arrest as that peace officer.
(c) A person commanded to aid a peace officer shall not be civilly liable for any reasonable conduct in aid of the officer.



So according to the Illinois statutes you can't be sued; however, there is a giant red flag in the wording of (c): "any reasonable conduct", and that is what makes this a dangerous proposition, especially in Madison County, Illinois.
Madison County was rated the #1 "Judicial Hellhole" in the nation as rated by the American Tort Reform Association (source). I don't think it is any coincidence that #2 on this same list is St. Clair County, Illinois, which happens to border Madison County (St. Clair County is south of Madison County).

So to me, the question comes down to "reasonable conduct". If you get involved, and in the process of aiding the police officer the suspect is shot and killed, or seriously injured, was shooting the suspect "reasonable"? As I stated in my first post, if faced with this situation, most likely I would assist the officer, but you better believe that if that suspect is injured I would be looking at a civil case, because in Madison County, the scumbag personal injury attorneys would come swooping in like a pack of hungry vultures...



posted on Aug, 23 2005 @ 09:42 AM
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That bull-poop. They get paid to do thier jobs. Im not putting my life in danger because your hasling kids, or anyone for that matter.

Call for back up not me. You might not get the help you want.:shk:



posted on Aug, 23 2005 @ 10:03 AM
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Originally posted by SpittinCobra
That bull-poop. They get paid to do thier jobs. Im not putting my life in danger because your hasling kids, or anyone for that matter.

Call for back up not me. You might not get the help you want.:shk:


Doctors get paid to do their jobs. Should one stop and help someone in need to just say, I'm sorry but you need to make an appointment or go to the hospital before I can help you. If you thoughts are that all officers do is hassle kids then you are ignorant of law enforcement. They risk their lives for you and they do it without any thanks. Folks with anti LE views tend to quickly change their tone when they suddenly need help. I still pose the question that if a non officer was in a struggle with someone and yelled for help, would you assist?

Just because you may not like the laws do not take it out on those that enforce them, take it up with your local, state and federal gov'ts. Attacking officers is in some way like attacking troops for doing their job, which by the way, troops are paid for too. Would you help a person in a military uniform in that same situation?



posted on Aug, 24 2005 @ 02:36 AM
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Originally posted by WeBDeviL
I caught some freetime and I think i'll use it to just let ya'll know one thing:

You guys are idiots for saying stuff like "well they get paid for it" and things of that like.


ALERT: Officers are paid and it is their job. end transmission.



Did you know that it is your civil duty to assist an officer if they request it?


13th amendment my friend, 13th amendment.



I sure as hell would do anything that officer asked me. Or does respect for the uniform not carry on to today's generations?


HOw can respect for officers be genuine when they spend half the time enforcing nany laws? Like: where a seat belt and drugs are bad mm'kay and hey only we can have guns 'bang bang'.



Honestly folks, it's pathetic that you agree that you are "disappointed" that an officer can't do it himself, etc. Absolutely disheartening to me.

Show some respect for God's sake. Help the uniform when the request it.


Why can't the boys in blue escort me to my next pizza delivery? Is that so much to ask for?



posted on Aug, 24 2005 @ 06:05 AM
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If police can sit outside Columbine HS for 3 hours while hoods run around killing people inside, I think I'm safe to stand off and pay more attention to my own safety in a similar situation. That is what those cops did. Is their safety more important than mine as a citizen?

Sorry, your authority as a police officer does not extend to ordering me to risk my life because you aren't prepared or are unable to do your job.



posted on Aug, 24 2005 @ 07:17 AM
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This is just a tough situation for me to judge.

1. The cop can't take a 15 year old?

2. A person not trained in legal application of force or effective techniques of doing so, is actually going to be prosecuted for failing to assault a minor who, if I understand correctly, had already been tasered, struck, and was on the ground largely under the control of a police officer?

3. What if things had gone differently? Could the man have been sued by the kids parents if he had assissted and done something that could be argued to be excessive?

4. What if the situation is reversed? If I'm in trouble, and a police officer isn't sure he can help me without being injured or killed, so he waits for backup, can he be arrested? I'm pretty sure he can't be. Yet if an untrained civilian feels that he can't run into a situation where a perp is about to obtain an officer's gun, he CAN be arrested???

Pesonally, I'd almost certainly have clocked this kid. I wouldn't be shocked if that got me arrested and or sued for six to seven figures.



posted on Aug, 24 2005 @ 07:24 AM
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Originally posted by anniejhops




Doctors get paid to do their jobs. Should one stop and help someone in need to just say,?


Exactly, doctors do get paid to do thier jobs, if someone that is not a doctor can be sued for helping.

Can you say malpractice?

I want to add, I have never called th police for help and I cant see a time where I will need to.

[edit on 24-8-2005 by SpittinCobra]



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